Meet Verne Taylor, director of Nevada City public works |

Meet Verne Taylor, director of Nevada City public works

Verne Taylor, Nevada City Department of Public Works, in his office at city hall.

If you have a problem with your municipal water or sewer lines in Nevada City, Verne Taylor is part of the solution. As director of public works, a bit part of his job deals with digging up problems and fixing them.

“Everyday is a new experience in this town,” Taylor said. “I thrive on it. The challenge of digging up in this town, finding out what’s underneath, how to solve a problem. That’s the fun part.”

“At 7:00 in the morning I have a plan for the day, but that could be out the window by 7:15. By eight o’clock when city hall opens and the phone rings, the day can change rapidly.”

Taylor moved here with his parents at the age of 18, and he didn’t think he’d like it.

“I was moving here from the bay area, and I thought I was moving back to the 1950s,” he said. “But after a very short time you could never get me out of this town.”

He did leave, temporarily, to pursue a degree in forestry from Humboldt State University. But he came back here after college, to start a forest nursery growing seedlings.

Taylor worked as a builder for many years as well, pounding nails for his father’s Bay Area construction firm at the age of 12. He’s worked on a number of buildings in Nevada City, including several on Broad Street.

When the city asked him to apply for his current position, he was working as a volunteer, teaching the public works crew how to make concrete stairs in the park. He says it is the only government job in this county that he ever wanted.

His favorite part of the work, though, is his partner Bill Falconi.

“The working relationship between the two of us is phenomenal,” Taylor said. “We constantly balance each other out. It’s just amazing.”

“Most engineers wouldn’t work with a layperson like myself as Bill does. Bill works with me almost as an equal, which is extremely rare. He asks my opinion on things, he brings me in on design issues. He relies on me a lot when we’re out in the field. He almost treats me as an equal, which is very rare for an engineer.”

Taylor’s work is all over town. But his real legacy, he said, is just up Broad Street from city hall at the United Methodist Church. He’s volunteered as a carpenter there for more than 30 years, and his woodwork is visible throughout the structure.

“I may never be a good Christian,” he said. “But I’m a good carpenter.”

Taylor has two sons, one of whom lives in a “granny unit” on his property. He also has a granddaughter living in the same home.

“We’re very lucky to have a son and daughter-in-law and a granddaughter that close,” he said. “Our other son lives in Pacific Grove.”

To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email or call 530-477-4230.

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